Basic Biographical Details

Name: James Mitchell White Halley
Designation: Architect
Born: 1877
Died: 24 October 1918
Bio Notes: James Mitchell White Halley was born in Partick in 1877, the son of Joseph Smith Halley and Catherine White, and was educated at Glasgow High School. He was articled to Thomson & Sandilands in 1894, moving to the office of William Leiper as improver at the end of his apprenticeship in 1899. During this period he studied at the Glasgow School of Art and Royal Technical College under Francis H Newbery, William James Anderson and Charles Gourlay. In 1901 he moved to London to work as chief assistant in the firm of Niven & Wigglesworth, leaving them in 1903 when he found employment in the office of Edward Harding Payne. The following year he set off on an extended tour of Italy, Sicily and France from which he returned in 1905. On 19 August of the latter year he married his first wife, Thyrza Harriet Lillian Butler, in London.

In 1906 Halley worked briefly for William Flockhart before entering the office of Mervyn Edmund Macartney. He is believed to have been working in partnership with Ernest Godfrey Page c.1907, although this partnership must have been short-lived as he was once again working for Macartney when he was admitted LRIBA on 4 July 1910, his proposers being Macartney, Flockhart and Herbert Hardy Wigglesworth. He was still working in the same building as Macartney when he was elected FRIBA in 1914, proposed by Macartney, Edwin Alfred Rickards and John James Joass, although it is possible that by this time he was practising independently.

Halley entered many competitions including The Hague Palace of Peace, where his entry was highly placed and the Mitchell Library, Glasgow, where he reached the final stage. He had scholarly interests, contributing to the 'Practical Exemplar of Architecture' and the 'Architectural Review', of which he was assistant editor in 1909; and he won the RIBA essay prize in 1914 with 'The Rebuilding and the Workmen of St Paul's Cathedral' (RIBA Journal, 5 and 19 December 1914). He was engaged on a book on Piranesi when he was commissioned in the Royal Engineers late in 1914. He was wounded at Arras in 1917 and promoted major in the summer of 1918. That same summer he received the decree absolute of his divorce from his first wife on 24 June, and married Edith Bird on 6 August; but he was killed only two-and-a-half months later by a sniper when surveying the Scheldt for a bridging of the river on 24 October 1918 and is buried at Dottignies Communal Cemetery.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 42 Old Serjeant's Inn, Chancery Lane, London, EnglandPrivate1907 *  
Item 2 of 4Heath House, New End Square, Hampstead, London, EnglandPrivate1910 *  
Item 3 of 4The Ship, Meadway Close, Golders Green, London, EnglandPrivate1914 *  
Item 4 of 49, Bedford Row, London, EnglandBusiness1914 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 7Thomson & Sandilands18941899Apprentice 
Item 2 of 7William Leiper18991901Assistant 
Item 3 of 7Niven & Wigglesworth19011903Chief Assistant 
Item 4 of 7Edward Harding Payne19031904Chief Assistant 
Item 5 of 7William Flockhart19061906Assistant(?) 
Item 6 of 7(Sir) Mervyn Edmund Macartney1906After 1910Assistant(?) 
Item 7 of 7Halley & Pagec. 1907Before 1910Partner 


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 6William Flockhart4 July 1910for Licentiateship
Item 2 of 6John James Joass1914for Fellowship
Item 3 of 6(Sir) Mervyn Edmund Macartney4 July 1910for Licentiateship
Item 4 of 6(Sir) Mervyn Edmund Macartney1914for Fellowship
Item 5 of 6Edwin Alfred Rickards1914for Fellowship
Item 6 of 6Herbert Hardy Wigglesworth4 July 1910for Licentiateship

Buildings and Designs

This architect was involved with the following buildings or structures from the date specified (click on an item to view details):
 Date startedBuilding nameTown, district or villageIslandCity or countyCountryNotes
Item 1 of 41906(?)Mitchell Library  GlasgowScotlandReached final stage in competition
Item 2 of 41907(?)The Peace Palace  The HagueNetherlandsPlaced highly in competition
Item 3 of 41909The ShipHampstead Garden Suburb LondonEngland 
Item 4 of 4Before 1909White CottageChingford EssexEngland 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 2British Architectural Library, RIBA2001Directory of British Architects 1834-1914   
Item 2 of 2Luck, J James Mitchell White Halley (full title uncertain) Unpublished dissertation, University of Southampton 

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this architect:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 5Builder13 December 1918  p404 Obituary
Item 2 of 5Building News27 November 1918  p353 Obituary
Item 3 of 5RIBA Journal5 December 1914 London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp49
Item 4 of 5RIBA Journal19 December 1914 London: Royal Institute of British Architectsp73
Item 5 of 5RIBA JournalJanuary 1919 London: Royal Institute of British ArchitectsObituary

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1Professor David M Walker personal archiveProfessor David M Walker, notes and collection of archive material Family information from Elizabeth Luck, Halley's granddaughter (email 3 November 2006)